Chelsea, Everton to be busy in final days of transfer window

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LONDON — Expect both Chelsea and Everton to splash plenty of cash in the remaining days of the summer transfer window.

[ MORE: 3 things we learned ]

In the west London sun Chelsea eased to victory against the Toffees but both teams seemed short of options in certain areas and both managers confirmed afterwards that they expect to be busy before the transfer window shuts on Aug. 31 at 6 p.m. ET.

Chelsea boss Antonio Conte has already brought in Alvaro Morata, Antonio Rudiger, Tiemoue Bakayoko and Willy Caballero this summer but he is linked with moves for multiple new players including Danny Drinkwater, Jamie Vardy, Ross Barkley, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Virgil Van Dijk and others.

“I think the club is working very hard to improve our squad,” Conte said. “Don’t forget that when we restart next September we play seven games and I need to rotate my players. It is very difficult to play seven games in a month with the same players. The club, they know very well which is our situation but I repeat that I am ready in every case and then to continue to work with this group of players and players we have.”

Conte — who saw his side impress with Cesc Fabregas and Alvaro Morata scoring the goals against a lackluster Everton — responded to reports he may leave Chelsea if they don’t sign new players before Thursday by saying he was “totally committed to the club” but emphasized that bringing in new players isn’t solely down to him.

“I am a coach. I am not a manager,” Conte said. “I think the best of my work is to try and improve my players and improve my team. Then, for sure, you want to strengthen your squad you have to give your opinion and speak with your club. Then the club go in the transfer market and try to solve the situation and try to help us. Sometimes it could be possible, sometimes it is not possible. I repeat, I must be focused on the pitch and to continue to work with my players.”

As for Everton boss Ronald Koeman, he wouldn’t be drawn on speculation linking Everton with a late move for Diego Costa — Conte declined to talk about Costa’s situation — when asked if the Spanish international could be a stunning signing for Everton in the final days of the window.

“I don’t know. We are looking to players that are maybe available. If we sign somebody then it will be somebody who makes the team better,” Koeman said. “I don’t speak about names, players, the media is talking about Costa and we are looking and we are doing our job and hopefully we will arrange it for next week.”

One thing is for sure, Koeman is looking for a striker and one more player, believed to be a left-sided center back, to help improve Everton’s chances of mounting a serious top four challenge and he was insistent it needs to happen with a long season ahead in the PL, Europa League and domestic cup competitions.

His side failed to have a single shot on target at Chelsea on Sunday as Sandro Ramirez struggled and looked isolated up top, while Wayne Rooney and Gylfi Sigurdsson had off days underneath him.

“We need at least two more players to get numbers in but the most important is to have a striker in and one more player. That’s what we need,” Koeman confirmed. “If you look to all the squads of the big teams, they have so many options. If we get everybody back like Coleman, Schneiderlin, Bolasie, Klaassen, McCarthy, Barkley, you are talking about six or seven first team players. If we had those players, but of course, injuries are part of football but if we have those players we have too much but we are unlucky in that case.”

One player Koeman may not be counting on for a while is Belgian attacker Kevin Mirallas who was left out of the squad due to a poor attitude.

Koeman said Mirallas is “struggling to deal with moments in the season and disappointments” and added that he “expected everybody to be part of the team and if somebody is showing he is disappointed and his attitude is not the same, then I make decisions.” He also confirmed that Bosnian midfielder Mohamed Besic played on Sunday despite his father being shot in Bosnia and the midfielder insisted he wanted to play despite the difficult circumstances.

The overall vibe was that the Dutchman seemed extremely confident of new arrivals this week and gave his board a little reminder that despite spending $180 million ($96.5 million of which came from the sale of Romelu Lukaku to Manchester United) on new signings this summer, Farhad Moshiri and Co. have to dig even deeper into their pockets.

“I am always confident because we did some good business but everybody knows, the board knows, the importance of the two signings,” Koeman said.

A busy summer is set to have a hectic ending for both Chelsea and Everton.

Report: Newcastle sale closer after improved bid of $400 million

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The Geordie dream appears one giant step closer to reality after Amanda Staveley has reportedly made a significantly larger bid in her attempt to purchase Newcastle United from long-embattled owner Mike Ashley.

[ TIMELINE: Ashley puts club up for sale | Staveley’s first bid rejected ]

According to multiple reports out of the UK — the Telegraph offers the most information at this time — Staveley has increased her initial offer from $335 million to today’s $400-million figure which is expected to be enough to convince Ashley to accept and bring to an end his decade-long, rocky relationship with the Toon Army.

Ashley purchased the club for $177 million back in 2007 and has reportedly invested somewhere in the neighborhood of another $177 million, in the form of interest-free loans, during his stewardship. He stands to make a sizable profit in light of today’s reports, though his original asking price of $534 million is nowhere close to being met.

[ STREAM: Newcastle host Everton — Wednesday, 2:45 p.m. ET ]

The biggest question which remains — now that will he or won’t he sell? appears to have been answered — is how quickly the deal can be completed, thus allowing Staveley to back manager Rafa Benitez during the January transfer window. Once the two sides enter into deeper takeover talks and the process of transferring ownership from one to the other begins, a transfer embargo will be activated.

Benitez and Ashley traded verbal jabs over the club’s transfer dealings — or, lack thereof — in the summer, and the Spaniard has again this week insisted significant investment is needed in January, otherwise the Magpies could very well be relegated, once again. After a strong start to the season, Newcastle are winless in their last seven Premier League games (six losses) and have tumbled to 16th in the league table, now just two points clear of the relegation zone.

Klopp explains rotation vs. Everton, Salah’s injury scare

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Jurgen Klopp took a fair bit of criticism over his decision to rotate four members of his first-choice starting lineup for Sunday’s 1-1 draw with Everton, and the Liverpool manager might not be done rotating just yet — only this time, his hand could be force by an injury scare.

[ MORE: Klopp says post-game interview not a big deal ]

Philippe Coutinho, Roberto Firmino, Emre Can and Georginio Wijnaldum were all dropped to the bench, on the advice of the club’s medical team, at the end of a 21-day stretch which saw the Reds play seven times. Klopp came under further scrutiny for his decision to substitute Mohamed Salah, Liverpool’s undisputed player of the season thus far, with Liverpool leading 1-0 in the 67th minute.

Now, Klopp has revealed, that Salah was forced off due to fear of a potential hamstring injury, though the Egyptian is expected to be available to start when West Bromwich Albion visit Anfield on Wednesday (Watch live, 3 p.m. ET, on NBC Sports Gold) — quotes from the Guardian:

“I have 500,000 pieces of information and I have to make a decision; I cannot write a book before each game. I do not want to say [it was a risk to play Coutinho and Firmino] as that would sound like an excuse and I don’t need an excuse.

“I find it funny that we talk after this game about that but we did not speak about it after the 5-1 or 3-0, why they did not play [the wins at Brighton and Stoke when Salah, Coutinho and Sadio Mane did not all start]. This is one game we should have won they did not play. We play it 10 times and we win. We had a bit of information but, come on, it would sound like an excuse to me.

“I took Mo Salah off because he felt the hamstring a little bit. Then everyone said, ‘How can you take him off?’ I do not go out and say: ‘Because he is close to being injured.’ He is not injured at the moment, thank God. Hopefully we took him off early enough. We have to do it. Seven games in 21 days before Everton and now six games in 18 days. It is exactly the same. We need the best quality we can have before each game. We cannot ignore the number of games.”

The only thing Klopp could have done to draw even more criticism would have been to ignore the advice of the doctors prior to the game, then leave Salah on the field for all 90 minutes — win, lose or draw in the end. Once the above information had inevitably leaked out in said scenario, words like “irresponsible” and “negligent” would have been lobbed his way with reckless abandon.

It’s almost as if managers have more information available to them than the average, angry fan.

Independiente and Flamengo meet for South American trophy

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SAO PAULO (AP) Independiente, relegated for the first time in its history in 2013, can complete a remarkable turnaround by winning the Copa Sudamericana at the Maracana Stadium on Wednesday.

[ MORE: LA FC selects Urena, four others in MLS Expansion Draft ]

The Argentine team will go into the second leg of the final holding a 2-1 lead over Brazilian club Flamengo from the first leg.

Independiente, which has won multiple titles in South American tournaments, will be counting on 18-year-old midfielder Ezequiel Barco, one of the best players in this year’s competition.

Flamengo is also seeking to restore some pride in Rio de Janeiro. The big-spending Brazilian club, playing in its first Copa Sudamericana final, finished its domestic championship in a disappointing sixth place.

The Rio team will be without Peru striker Paolo Guerrero, who is serving a one-year doping ban.

Instead, veteran midfielder Diego will be the key player as Flamengo looks to claim its first regional title since winning the now-defunct Copa Mercosur in 1999.

After Independiente won the first leg, the club posted on its social media channels a picture of its players celebrating at the Maracana in 1995 when the two teams played for the Supercopa.

If the Argentines lose 1-0 on Wednesday, there will be a penalty shootout to decide the winner.

Last year, Brazilian club Chapecoense was awarded the title before the final after 19 players, plus club directors and several members of staff, died in an air crash.

The Copa Sudamericana is the continent’s second most prestigious tournament after the Copa Libertadores.

Bundesliga wrap: Dortmund wins in Stoger’s managerial debut

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For the first time since late September, Borussia Dortmund has won a league match, while Leipzig’s slip up opens the door for Bayern Munich to extend its lead in Germany’s top flight.

[ MORE: Chelsea tops Huddersfield, level on points with Man United ]

Here’s a brief look at all of Tuesday’s Bundesliga action.

Mainz 0-2 Borussia Dortmund

10 points separates Dortmund from league leaders Bayern Munich, who also have a match in hand, but for the moment, the bleeding his stopped. BVB picked up a crucial win on Tuesday to end its domestic woes upon manager Peter Stoger’s debut. The side’s drought stretched over an eight-match winless period. Second-half goals from Sokratis and Shinji Kagawa moved Dortmund into the top four, while Mainz remains 15th in the league table.

 

Wolfsburg 1-1 Red Bull Leipzig

Meanwhile, RB Leipzig’s form continues to slide downward after the second-place side dropped points in its fourth straight match across all competitions. The road side’s fortunes were dampened early on when Paul Verhaegh converted from the penalty spot, however, Marcel Halstenberg did manage to pull a goal back for Leipzig in the 52nd minute. Leipzig’s misfortunes carried on in stoppage time though when Dayot Upamecano was sent off after picking up his second yellow card of the day.


The rest of Tuesday’s scores

Hamburg 1-2 Frankfurt
Freiburg 1-0 Borussia Monchengladbach